Hyderabad: Coronavirus lockdowns globally has given nature a rare opportunity to experience life without human intervention. Animals are exploiting the gap by venturing into emptied streets and areas. For example, deer, leopard and bears were spotted roaming in the streets of Tirumala. Malabar Civet was found roaming in Kerala.
While many of these are not unique sightings, the human restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic seem to have given animals the confidence to go deeper into our cities and stay for longer.
Amidst this situation, a video is being circulated with a claim “Poor terrified #Leopard which strayed into a town in #jallandhar, Punjab,#India. #SocialDistancing forgotten in this chaos #COVID19 #coronavirus”
— Vidya Hegde (@listen2thiswomn) April 28, 2020
Leopard running around in Jalandhar Punjab pic.twitter.com/wU7gDTKE60
— KaptanHindustan (@GautamTrivedi_) April 26, 2020
The claim is misleading.
When the keyframes extracted from the video are used for Google reverse image search, we found several news media reports published almost a year ago stating that a leopard created panic in Jalandhar, Punjab.
According to the reports, this incident occurred on January 31, 2019. A leopard caused panic in Jalandhar as it went on the prowl for several hours attacking inhabitants before it was tranquilized. Four people were hauled to the ground and bitten by the marauding feline who stalked the alleys and backstreets of the city of 8,00,000 people for more than six hours before it was caught. The same video can be seen in bbc.com website.
According to a report by the Indian Express, panic gripped Jalandhar district’s Lamma Pind as an adult leopard strayed into the densely populated village Thursday noon from across the district border with Hoshiarpur along the national highway. The lone big cat attacked six people and drew the rescuers into hours of cat-and-mouse chase, with a 12-member team from the wildlife department managing to corner it outside the toilet of a locked house in the evening. It was finally caged post 11 pm after an 11-hour struggle, and sent to Chandigarh’s Chhatbir Zoo under medical supervision.
Though this incident did occur in Jalandhar, Punjab, it happened on January 31, 2019 i.e., almost a year ago. Hence, the claim that this incident occurred during lockdown is misleading.